Remove Cigarette Smells from Trashcans
Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated March 27, 2023)
Even though I quit smoking a few years ago, I still find myself trying to get rid of the remnants. It seems like every time I have finally removed one source of stale cigarette odor, another one crops up. Over the years, I believe that I have finally removed the last of the cigarette smell, and have identified the single most difficult place to remove the stale cigarette smell—the trashcan. The method listed here is the one that I have found to work the best at removing cigarette smells from trashcans.
- Toilet bowl or scrub brush
- Rubber gloves
- Dishwashing detergent
- Charcoal briquettes (normal)
- Gather materials. The very first step of any cleaning project is to collect the materials you will need in order to complete the project. In this case, all of the materials are things that you should have around the house already, or that you can pick up in a quick trip to the grocery store.
- Select location. When cleaning something along the lines of a garbage can you are going to need room to do it. The best place to clean your trashcan will be outside in the back yard, or in the drive way. You need to make sure that you are near a source of water, or at the very least within easy distance of a hose.
- Scrub. Add a little dishwashing detergent in the trashcan and roughly one gallon of water. Be sure that you have your rubber gloves on, and then scrub the can. When scrubbing the can, make sure that you get both the inside and the outside. Periodically empty the trashcan out, and refill with water and detergent so that you can repeat the process until you have removed the stains and have cleaned the can.
- Dry. Once you have cleaned the trashcan, allow the can to dry completely. You can do this by simply turning the trashcan upside down and leaving it outside until it has dried.
- Sanitize. Once the trash can is clean and dry, it is time to sanitize it. This sanitization process will also remove the last of the cigarette smell that was embedded into the plastic of the trashcan. There are two ways that you can do this, either use two cups of bleach or two cups of vinegar and wash the trashcan once again.
- Dry. Allow the can to dry completely, as before.
- Prevent odors. Once your can is dry, it is time to prevent any future odors from coming back. The easiest way to do this is to place a couple of regular charcoal briquettes (not the kind that have lighter fluid in them) in the bottom of the trashcan. These briquettes will absorb any future odors and help keep your trashcan from being a source of embarrassment.
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